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Timothy L. Pierce

Partner
+1.310.552.5058
Fax +1.310.552.5001

Mr. Pierce’s practice almost exclusively involves legal matters in the construction industry.  He works with construction industry clients from the inception of a project and the formation of contracts to the resolution of claims in litigation.  An experienced litigator, Mr. Pierce looks for unique solutions to construction disputes to achieve solutions that are efficient and cost effective for his clients.  Mr. Pierce has had extensive trial experience in construction matters, having tried 10 cases to juries totaling 50 weeks in front of juries. In 2005, Mr. Pierce obtained a $37 million judgment on behalf of a contractor on a power plant project after a ten week jury trial.  The judgment was one of the top ten California jury trial verdicts in 2005.  In 2006, Mr. Pierce successfully defended a contractor in a false claims case by the City of Los Angeles in which a unanimous jury found in favor of his client.  The client also recovered its attorneys’ fees under the California False Claims Act.  His construction experience includes prosecuting and defending construction contract, construction defect and design defect claims on behalf of owners, contractors and design professionals on both private and public projects.  Mr. Pierce also has assisted contractors with bid protests and MBE and DBE matters. 

In addition to his construction law practice, Mr. Pierce also focuses on insurance and risk management issues in the construction industry, with an emphasis on representing insureds to maximize coverage for construction claims.  He also has substantial experience in the defense of ADA Title III public access claims and was trial counsel in one of the few Title III cases to go to trial in California. Mr. Pierce was named a Southern California "Super Lawyer" by Los Angeles Magazine in 2006 and 2008-2015.  K&L Gates' Construction Law practice was ranked Tier 1 in both the National and Los Angeles categories of the U.S. News & World Report-Best Lawyers survey.

Professional Background

Before joining K&L Gates, Mr. Pierce was a partner in the Los Angeles office of an international law firm.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Association of General Contractors of California - Insurance and Bond Committee
  • California Bar Association
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2008
Presentations and Publications 
  • Mr. Pierce speaks regularly on construction and construction risk management issues, including presentations at conferences and seminars by International Risk Management Institute (IRMI), The Seminar Group, Lorman, California Bar CEB and the Construction Super Conference. Representative speaking engagements include: 
    •  “Construction Delay Claims: Proving and Defending Damages,” webinar presented by Strafford (2011). 
    •  “Not All Construction Damage Recoveries Are Created Equal,” presented at the 25th Annual SuperConference, San Francisco, CA (2010).
    • “The Effective Expert Witness: What Compels an Arbitrator, Judge and/or Jury?” presented at the Construction SuperConference, San Francisco, CA (2007).
  • Mr. Pierce has published articles in various publications on construction law matters, including “Contractual Indemnity Clauses in Construction Contracts,” coauthored with Raymond Michael Viayra, Jr..
    • Mr. Pierce has also authored several chapters in construction publications:
    • “Forms of Dispute Resolution, Their Costs, and Their Benefits” in Contract Dispute Resolution ( 2014 ed.), published by Aspatore Books.
    • “Insurance and Indemnity” in California Construction Contracts and Disputes (3rd ed.), published by California Continuing Education of the Bar.
    • “The False Claims Act in Today’s Construction Industry” in Construction Law Update (2008 ed.), published by Wolters Kluwer.
Representative Matters

  • ICC Arbitration (2012). Represented international contractor in an ICC arbitration involving a power plant that it constructed in Latin America. The claimant insurance company brought a subrogation action to recover $10 million for damages arising from an equipment failure at the project. The case was resolved within months of our engagement when the claimant was persuaded to dismiss the case or be subject to a motion to dismiss and a request for fees. The case, which was dismissed without any settlement payment by the client, was venued in Miami under Florida law and handled by attorneys in the firm's Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Miami offices.

  • Applied Utility Systems, Inc. v. Benz Air Engineering Co., Inc. (2012). Represented Applied Utility Systems in a claim to recover amounts unpaid for air pollution control systems and for slander. Defendant counterclaimed for $1 million. Following a three-week jury trial, client was awarded the full balance on the contract, plus interest, lawyer fees, and costs, totaling more than $1.2 million. Defendant was denied any recovery on its counterclaim.

  • Prousys, Inc. v. Taisei-T&K Joint Venture, et al. (2012). Represented Taisei Corporation in a payment dispute. Taisei constructed improvements on a waste water treatment plant for the Inland Empire Utility District (“IEUA”). At the conclusion of the project, Taisei had not been paid approximately $8 million for its work on the project. IEUA filed a counter claim for violation of the False Claims Act. Taisei defeated that claim on summary judgment, and approximately two weeks before trial the case settled for approximately $6 million. When IEUA refused to pay a portion of the settlement amount, Taisei obtained an order enforcing the settlement agreement and recovered its fees for that effort.

  • Harbour Constructors, Co., v. State of California Department of Water Resources (2011). Harbour Constructors constructed repairs to the California aqueduct, incurring substantial overruns because of defective design documents by the State of California. The State refused to pay retention and outstanding claims for extra work and delays. The case was pending in an Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) Arbitration. After a mediation, the State agreed to settle the case for more than $1 million (roughly 85% of the amount the client would have sought in arbitration). The fees incurred to achieve this result were less than 10% of the total recovery.

  • SASCO v. Westfield Development Company, Inc. (2010). Represented client in a construction contract dispute with a subcontractor involved in construction of a new high-end shopping center in downtown San Francisco.  Of the $8.4 million claimed by the subcontractor, the arbitrators denied all but $1 million (which was not disputed) and deemed our client the prevailing party, and awarded its costs, attorney's fees, expert fees, and arbitration fees.

  • Stronghold Engineering v. Western Steel (2009).  Represented prime contractor in contract dispute with subcontractor on AAFES project.  The matter was tried to a jury in the Riverside County Superior Court and a favorable verdict was returned for the client on its affirmative claim and against the subcontractor on its cross-complaint.  Client was awarded attorney's fees and costs.

  • Balaton Homeowner's Association v. Balaton Condominiums LLC (2009).  Represented condominium declarant on condominium conversion project in the Seattle, Washington area in defense of claims for breach of warranties under the Washington Condominium Act and other related claims.  The case was tried to a jury in King County, Washington and after a five week trial, the jury returned a verdict awarding the plaintiff approximately 10% of the amount sought at trial.  The case was the first condominium conversion defect case to be tried to a jury in King County.

  • Miramar Construction v. Cal Inc. (2008).  Represented client in claim against prime contractor on federal prison renovation project in Los Angeles.  The matter was tried before a jury in the Los Angeles Superior Court and after a three week trial, the client obtained a $2.4 million judgment including recovery of its attorney’s fees and prompt payment penalties.

  • Matt Construction v. Century City Doctor’s Hospital (2008).  Represented general contractor in prosecution of claim for unpaid work on hospital renovation project.  Client received an award of $5.3 million after a three week hearing in a AAA sanctioned arbitration, which was over 90% of the claim amount.

  • City of Los Angeles v. Chicago Bridge & Iron (2006).  Successfully defended a contractor against a claim by the City of Los Angeles under the California False Claims Act, with a 12-0 verdict in favor of the client after a five-week jury trial.  The client was also awarded its attorneys’ fees. The appellate court upheld the defense verdict in 2012. Total recovery was approximately $20 million. This was the first jury case in California to find against a public agency on a construction false claims case.

  • Modern Continental v. Alstom Power (2005).  Represented a contractor in claims against an EPC (Engineer/Procure/Construct) contractor on the La Paloma Power Plant Project in Bakersfield, California.  Obtained a $37.1 million judgment after a 10-week jury trial, which was fully secured by bonds.

  • Sea Castle Partners v. Morley Construction (2004). Defended a contractor in construction defect litigation and assisted the client in maximizing additional insured benefits to fund a multimillion-dollar settlement from subcontractor policies; obtained substantial recovery of the client’s defense costs from subcontractor insurers.

  • Ray Wilson Co. v. GSA (2001).  Negotiated an $18 million settlement on behalf of a general contractor client in a Board of Contract Appeals claim against the General Services Administration for claims on the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Orange County, California.

  • Ball, Ball & Brosamer v. Caltrans (OAH Arbitration, 2000).  Successfully prosecuted a claim against the California Department of Transportation; this included taking a successful appeal from the original arbitration award and obtaining a full recovery in a second arbitration hearing.

  • Perini v. E.T. Whitehall (2000).  Assisted a general contractor with a multimillion-dollar settlement on a hotel renovation project in Santa Monica, California; achieved an efficient settlement with minimal litigation expenses.  The settlement resolved claims by the client and 10 subcontractors.

  • Denver International Airport (1995-1997).  Represented a paving contractor in defense of claims pertaining to concrete runway construction, including defense of federal grand jury investigations under the Federal False Claims Act.  No indictment was returned.

Representative Projects

  • 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles California
  • Casa Del Mar Hotel, Santa Monica, California
  • Century City Doctors Hospital, Los Angeles California
  • Century Freeway, Los Angeles, California
  • Cinerama Dome, Hollywood, California
  • Clackamas High School, Clackamas, Oregon
  • Daniel Burnham Court Condominium, San Francisco, California
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District Pipe Extension, Oakland, California
  • Fantasy Springs Resort, Indio, California
  • Gonpachi Restaurant, Beverly Hills, California
  • Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, California
  • Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant, Los Angeles, California
  • Illinois Street Intermodal Bridge, San Francisco, California
  • La Canada Bridge Retrofit, Los Angeles, California
  • La Paloma Power Plant, Bakersfield, California
  • Los Angeles County/USC Hospital Project, Los Angeles, California
  • Los Angeles Superior Courthouse, Lancaster, California
  • Meadows Field, Bakersfield California
  • Morgan Hill School District Renovation Project, Morgan Hill, California
  • Palm Street Parking Structure, San Luis Obispo, California
  • Quail Point Condominiums, San Bruno, California
  • Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, Santa Ana, California
  • San Francisco Bay Bridge, San Francisco Bay Area, California
  • San Joaquin County Hospital Project, Stockton, California
  • Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica, California
  • Sea Castle Apartments, Santa Monica, California
  • Sherman Oaks Galleria, Sherman Oaks, California
  • Terminal Island Federal Bureau of Prisons, Los Angeles California
  • United States Federal Courthouse, Fresno, California